Australian Bush Birds
Black Swan  -  Cygnus atratus
Black Swan
Black Swan with typical black plumage and red bill
Black Swan Black Swan
Left. Black head and neck with red bill. Right. Juvenile black swan with mottled grey plumage
map map The Black Swan - Cygnus atratus - is a very large water bird reaching 1.1 to 1.4 metres long, half of this length is head and neck, wingspan is approximately 1.6 to 2.0 metres.

Bill is red with white bar near tip, eyes are red. Black feathers faintly edged grey-brown; feathers at tail have curled tips giving a ruffled appearance. Black legs and feet. Male has straighter neck and bill than the female in a mated pair. Females are slightly smaller with paler bill and iris. Primary and outer secondary wing feathers are white but most of the white is only seen when the bird is in flight, some white may be seen in folded wings.

Uses long neck to pick weed from the bottom of lakes and rivers. Inhabits large expanses of fresh to marine open water with abundant aquatic vegetation and shallow water; this includes flooded pasture, lakes, estuaries and rivers. A long, splashing run into the wind with frantic flapping is needed to take-off with the heavy body

Black Swan - page 2
Black Swans
Group of swans feeding in shallow water covering weed beds in Tuggerah Lake near The Entrance in NSW.
Black Swan family
Swan family of two adults and six grey cygnets on Lake Bindegolly, SW Qld.